Astros split the doubleheader with Chicago

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: August 13th doubleheader recap

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Game 1 Recap

After a disappointing loss on Sunday to the Orioles and a rainout the day before, the Astros were ready to get back in the win column in game one of the doubleheader on Tuesday. Here is a recap of the afternoon game:

Final Score: Astros 6, White Sox 2.

Record: 78-41, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zack Greinke (12-4, 3.08 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Dylan Cease (2-5, 5.54 ERA).

1) Springer starts things with a bang

George Springer helped the Astros quickly get the taste of Sunday's loss out of their mouths on the first pitch of the game. He drilled a ball to left field, a 467-foot leadoff home run to put Houston up 1-0 immediately. After the defense saved a run in the bottom of the second, Jose Altuve doubled Houston's lead with a leadoff solo home run to start the third, making it a 2-0 game.

Those would be the only runs Houston would score until the sixth inning. In the top of the sixth, Yordan Alvarez worked a two-out walk, moved to third on a single by Yuli Gurriel, then scored on a passed ball, which at the time broke a tie to put Houston back ahead 3-2.

2) Quality start for Greinke

Zack Greinke was looking to make it back-to-back wins with his new team in the first of the two games on Tuesday. After a quick first inning, he allowed a couple of singles to put runners on base for his first test of the day. He would pass the test, thanks to a two-out strikeout and great throw out at home by George Springer connecting with Robinson Chirinos on a single that instead of scoring a run ended the inning.

The fourth inning was not the same story. After a quick third, Greinke allowed the leadoff runner aboard in the bottom of the fourth on an infield single, which would end up coming around to score on a one-out double to trim the lead to 2-1. He created trouble for himself in the bottom of the fifth, hitting the first batter of the inning who would move along to third on a couple of groundouts then score to tie the game on an RBI-double with two outs in the inning.

After Houston regained the lead in the top half, Greinke came out for his final inning in the bottom of the sixth and retired Chicago 1-2-3 to end his day in position for the win. His final line: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 0 HR.

3) Houston pulls away late to take game one

Houston loaded the bases in the top of the seventh, getting three walks before scoring on another passed ball to extend their lead to two runs at 4-2. Will Harris took over for Greinke on the mound in the bottom of the seventh and was able to retire the White Sox in order with two strikeouts to send the game to the eighth.

The Astros added another insurance run in the top of the eighth, getting a leadoff double by Yuli Gurriel who moved to third on a flyout then scored on an RBI-single by Robinson Chirinos. They would load the bases later in the inning but stranded all three runners to keep the game at 5-2.

Ryan Pressly was the next reliever out of the bullpen for Houston and recorded a quick inning to keep the three-run lead intact. The offense added one last insurance run in the top of the ninth, getting a couple of walks before another RBI-single by Robinson Chirinos to extend the lead to 6-2.

Collin McHugh was tasked to keep the four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning. He did so, holding the White Sox scoreless to wrap up the win in game one.

Game 2 Recap

After taking the first game in the afternoon, Houston was looking for the doubleheader sweep by taking the evening game. Here is how the second game shook out:

Final Score: White Sox 4, Astros 1.

Record: 78-42, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Ivan Nova (8-9, 4.51 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Chris Devenski (2-1, 4.33 ERA).

1) Cole misses his start, Devenski fills in

In a late turn of events, Gerrit Cole would not be able to start the night game of the doubleheader due to hamstring discomfort, and Houston instead had Chris Devenski warm up quickly to pitch in the bottom of the first inning. He was able to put together a scoreless first inning but would struggle in the second, allowing three runs on four hits along with an error, putting Chicago ahead 3-0 early.

Geroge Springer was able to get one of those runs back in the top of the third, getting an RBI-single to score Aledmys Diaz who reached on an error earlier in the inning. Joe Biagini took over for Devenski in the bottom of the third and was able to get through that inning scoreless, but a two-out RBI-double in the bottom of the fourth put Chicago's lead back to three runs at 4-1.

2) Astros unable to crack Ivan Nova

Biagini would also throw the fifth, a scoreless inning before the Astros moved on to their next reliever, Hector Rondon. Rondon was able to provide two scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh; meanwhile, the Astros were being held in check by Ivan Nova of the White Sox.

Joe Smith pitched the bottom of the eighth and worked around a single and walk to keep the score as is, thanks to a little help on defense. Houston would come up empty in the top of the ninth, resulting in a doubleheader split. Ivan Nova would complete the game allowing just one run to the Astros.

Up Next: These two teams will wrap up the three-game series with an afternoon game on Wednesday at 1:10 PM Central. Wade Miley (11-4, 2.99 ERA) will be on the mound to try and build on his recent success for Houston while the White Sox will counter with Ross Detwiler (1-3, 5.35 ERA).

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

Houston Astros/Facebook

The Astros had a bad 4-6 road trip and looked forward to getting home to Minute Maid Park where they have been dominant this season. The pitiful Detroit Tigers arrived in Houston with a record since the All Star Break of nine wins and 27 losses. They literally do not have one non-pitcher who would make a healthy Astros' roster. That includes the way over the hill sure fire Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. Splitting four games at home with the Tigers would have been a fail. The Astros did not fail, though "only" taking three out of four seems a little disappointing. The S.S. Astros Good Ship Lollipop has sprung a couple of leaks. Neither that can't be plugged with good health, but the Astros have two notable health issues.

Carlos Correa's next endorsement deal should be for peanut brittle, emphasis not on the peanut. Some guys just have a propensity toward getting injured. Unfortunately the Correa resume grows that he is one of those guys. That back problems have resurfaced is troubling, to no one more so than Correa himself. It's clear the guy loves the game and is spectacularly talented, but durability is one component of greatness and to this point Correa simply has not demonstrated durability. If he can't produce a fully healthy bigtime season or two in the next year or two, any visions of a Manny Machado-like 10 year 300 million dollar contract will be up in smoke. Still, Correa turns only 25 years old next month so there's time to prove sturdiness, but more sand has seeped through the hourglass. For the 2019 Astros the dropdown is huge from Correa at shortstop to either Miles Straw or Aledmys Diaz being in the lineup. As for 2020, please tell anyone saying the Astros should trade Correa to be quiet.

The loss of Ryan Pressly for most if not all of the rest of the regular season is a big blow to the bullpen. Of even bigger concern is whether he can get back and get sharp to start the postseason.

This doesn't mean the ship is sinking. The Astros enter the weekend just one game behind the Yankees for the best record in the American League, and the Astros own the tiebreaker (having won the season series 4-3). They are three back of the Dodgers for best in MLB, the Astros have a three game lead in the tiebreaker with LA (intradivision record). The Yankees play at the Dodgers this weekend so if you're a glass half full person: a Dodger or Yankee loss is guaranteed three days in a row! If you're glass half empty: a Dodger or Yankee win is guaranteed three days in a row!

NFL on the horizon

A little over 2 weeks until the Texans begin their 18th season of play in the National Football League. We've all heard the saying, the 18th time is the charm. So is this the season the Texans are finally a legitimate Super Bowl contender? Probably not. The Texans do not look like a notably improved football team. On paper their schedule is clearly more difficult than last season's. Within the AFC the Chiefs clearly have more overall talent and are better coached. The Patriots still exist. One of these years Tom Brady really will slip. Maybe at age 42 this is the season.

If Jadeveon Clowney opts to sit out, or is traded, anyone thinking he won't be missed, is wrong. Clowney is not a superstar but he's really good. The Texans will be easier to run on without him. And while not an elite pass rusher, Clowney has to be accounted for. Anyone thinking, ah, he's hurt all the time anyway…wrong again. Clowney missed one game last season, and the season before that he played in every game.

If you want a couple of reasons for plausible optimism, here you go. Coming off of last season Deshaun Watson does not rate as one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL. He could well vault into that echelon this season. The Texans' offensive line remains something between a question mark and a glaring weakness, but really, can it be worse than it was the last couple of seasons? DeAndre Hopkins is about as good as it gets today at wide receiver, the same for J.J. Watt at defensive end though the clock is ticking down on his prime.

The Texans probably begin their season by losing at New Orleans. On the other hand the Buccaneers started their 5-11 2018 season by beating the 13-3 to be Saints in New Orleans.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Connor McGregor pitches some "number 12" brand of whisky. As a human being he seems much more a piece of number two. 2. Two peas in a pitching pod: Justin Verlander 15-5, 2.77 ERA, 239 strikeouts. Gerrit Cole 15-5, 2.75 ERA, 238 strikeouts. 3. Worst tasting vegetables: Bronze-kale Silver-peas Gold-lima beans


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